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Sylvia M. Burwell

AU's 15th President

Welcome to American University!

I’m honored to serve as AU’s 15th president and to be part of this vibrant community of changemakers. 

Throughout our history, AU has been a place for the leaders and doers of today and tomorrow. Our students, faculty, staff, and global network of 145,000 alumni share a passion for taking on our world’s most pressing challenges and building meaningful change.

We are changemakers at our core.

In recent years, we became the first university to achieve carbon neutrality; launched an inclusive excellence plan as our roadmap toward a more equitable future; opened the Sine Institute for Policy and Politics, the Khan Cyber and Economic Security Institute, and the Hall of Science; helped to create an ethos of inquiry with an updated policy on freedom of expression and expressive conduct; more than doubled our externally-funded research dollars; and celebrated the growth of faculty achievements ranging from multi-million dollar grants to New York Times bestselling books.

We developed the Change Can't Wait campaign to create transformative educational opportunities for students, advance research with impact, and build stronger communities locally, nationally, and globally. This campaign is on target to raise $500 million and make the largest investment in student thriving in the university's history.

We also committed to continue to invest in our people, with increased financial aid and compensation for faculty and staff.

I invite you to explore our website and learn more about the undergraduate and graduate programs at our eight pioneering schools. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments at I hope to see you on campus soon!

Sylvia M. Burwell
President, American University

Changemakers Conversations

President Burwell’s Conversations with Changemakers video series focuses on AU students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are making their mark on the world, in the way only an AU changemaker can.


Changemakers for a Changing World

Five-Year Strategic Plan

Our strategic plan is organized into three strategic themes — scholarship, learning, and community — with key imperatives to guide our focused efforts.